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Beauty and the Beach: A story about litter…

April 20, 2012

by Marc Smith, Marine Warden

It was a beautiful day as the sun shone down over Worbarrow Bay, just one of the many breath taking, rugged beaches along the Jurassic Coast and part of the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site.  A site recognised globally for its ‘outstanding universal value’.

Out of sight the beauty continues underneath the waves. Worbarrow Bay reefs support a rich sponge and sea fan community. The Bay, part of the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve, contains the wreck of the Black Hawk, home to rare cup corals, carpet corals and colonies of attractively coloured jewel anemones.

Volunteers gather on the stunning beach at Worbarrow Bay
(Picture: Steve Trewhella UKCoastalwildlife)

The beach itself is also quite colourful. Neon green, blue, red, orange and silver are just some of the colours dappled across the pebbled shore. The sources of these colours are however somewhat less inspiring. Plastic bottles, drinks cans, fishing line, plastic bags, bottle caps, broken glass, cotton buds and small pieces of plastic are just some of the man-made ‘jewels’ typical of UK beaches; unsightly for visitors and potentially deadly for marine wildlife.

Last Sunday, conscientious volunteers all around Dorset descended on their local beaches to take part in the Great Dorset Beach Clean. The Dorset Wildlife Trust together with SAS (Surfers Against Sewage) hosted an event at Worbarrow Bay. Thirty-six people turned up to help with the clean. One remarked: “My partner did the Jurassic Coastal Run and said how beautiful it was but there was such a contrast when running on the beach. He told me how filthy it was and how determined he was to do something about it when he got back. That is why we are here today”. Forty-seven bags of litter were removed from the beach weighing 162kg. DWT volunteer Glynis Northwood-Long said: “It’s amazing what can be done in a couple of hours”.

A great effort from everyone!!!
(Picture: Steve Trewhella UKCoastalwildlife)

317 plastic drinks bottles were collected sporting the logo of most of the major drinks brands, many of which will be sent back to the manufacturers as part of the Surfers Against Sewage ‘Return to the Offender’ campaign.

Sorting out the branded plastic bottles to 'Return to the Offender'
(Picture: Steve Trewhella UKCoastalWildlife)

The local marine wildlife will be better off for all of the hard work of the volunteers and the natural beauty was restored. Unfortunately, this will not last for long as the next tide of litter will soon wash in. The true beauty would be if we could all reduce, re-use and recycle our waste to eliminate this problem forever.

To view other marine events that the Dorset Wildlife Trust will be running over the summer visit: Or just give me a call on 01929 481044.  It would be great to hear from you.


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